Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cory Aquino on ‘The Only Thing I Can Offer’

Leader of People Power
Corazon Aquino who was swept into office on a wave of “people power” in 1986 and then faced down half a dozen coup attempts in six years as president, died of cancer on 31st July 2009 in Manila, at the age of 76.

Bearer of Hope
Demure but radiant in her familiar yellow dress, Mrs. Aquino brought hope to the Philippines as a presidential candidate, then led its difficult transition to democracy from 20 years of autocratic rule under her predecessor, Ferdinand Marcos.

Popular Will
That initial triumph of popular will — after a fraudulent election in which Mr. Marcos claimed victory, though most people believed that Mrs. Aquino had won — was a high point in modern Philippine history, and it offered a model for nonviolent uprisings that has been repeated often in other countries.

An observant Roman Catholic who sometimes retreated to convents for contemplation, she attributed much of her success to a divine will.

Only Thing I Can Offer
“What on earth do I know about being president?” Mrs. Aquino said in an interview in December 1985, after a rally opening her election campaign.

But that was beside the point. For many Filipinos, she embodied a hope of becoming a better nation and a prouder people.

“The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people is my sincerity,” she said in the interview.

It was what they hungered for, and what she delivered as president. Although often criticized as an indecisive and ineffectual leader, Mrs. Aquino combined passivity and stubbornness and an unexpected shrewdness to hold firm against powerful opponents from both the right and the left.

Greatest Triumph
Her survival in office was one of her chief accomplishments.

Link to full story.
Seth Mydans, Corazon Aquino, Ex-Leader of Philippines, Is Dead, New York Times, 31 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Corazon Aquino.